A motorcyclist has died from a Friday afternoon motorcycle accident on Highway 58 at S. Union Avenue, Bakersfield that was caused by scrap metal debris on the highway.
The California Highway Patrol said a big rig hauling scrap iron was heading west on Highway 58, when pieces of metal started falling off the truck. The motorcyclist behind the big rig, according to the CHP, swerved to avoid the debris, lost control of his motorcycle and was run over by the big rig. (I don’t see how this sequence is possible, but that is what was reported).
The big rig did not stop at the scene and the CHP is looking for the truck and driver. This is all according to a report by KGET TV 17 Bakersfield on their website. Anyone having information on this accident or the identify of the truck or driver involved is asked to contact the California Highway Patrol.
More than 25,000 traffic accidents a year are caused by debris dumped or falling from vehicles in North America according to a 2004 report on vehicle-related debris by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The California State Transportation Department (CalTrans) estimates that 140,000 cubic yards of debris winds up on California’s roadways each year. Highway debris has caused 155 California traffic accident fatalities in the last two years.
In California, not only can a motorist be fined if anything other than live bird feathers or water comes off or out of their vehicles and onto a roadway but they can be held civilly and criminally responsible for the consequences of that debris on our roadways. Our law firm alone has prosecuted many very serious injury and death accident cases caused by highway debris.
Keep in mind that a person injured in a car crash or motorcycle accident caused by highway debris has a right to be compensated for their injuries not only from whomever is responsible for the debris being on the roadway but from their own “uninsured/underinsured motorist” provision of their automobile insurance policy. If the person responsible for debris on a roadway is never found or identified, the “uninsured motorist” provision of a motor vehicle insurance policy has provisions to compensate the injured or the family of a deceased accident victim.
Also keep in mind that most members of the household of a person with “uninsured/underinsured motorist” coverage are covered by that auto insurance policy. The injured only has to be a member of the household of the insured. They do not have to be insured themselves. They do not have to be a licensed driver or named on the policy. They don’t even need to be in a vehicle when they are injured.
Call us if you have questions about the applicability of a motor vehicle insurance policy to a roadway debris accident or how to hold someone responsible for damages due to roadway debris.